Categoría: Part 3

Part 3 Tutor Feedback

Yesterday I had a Google Hangout with my tutor Clare Wilson. It was an experience I feel should be carried out more frequently throughout the courses – As it can certainly build a better rappor with the OCA Team and help build up confidence in your work, or give quick guiding help to those who need it.  

I was pleased that my tutor confirmed that I was making good progress – this is a copy of her report with my comments added:

Overall Comments
It was good to talk to you today via google hangout. I have given you a summary of the
main feedback points.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of
Confident, fluid studies in a range of media. The quicker ones work best.
360º Studies
Pencil studies – sensitive and well balanced compositionally. Tonal perspective well
rendered. confident, fluid marks.
Pen – we careful to avoid making severe contrasts as these can look a little contrived.
Developing your studies
Engaging, well considered composition – the strongest is the pencil drawing (good
combination of decisive linear detail and softer sense of movement).
Foreground, middle ground, background.
Interesting to see the development of your ideas – the first study is delicately rendered
in terms of the mark making and slightly animated line. I can understand your
frustrations in terms of perspective but in correcting this, the second and third attempts
lose some of the quality of line and are overworked in comparison.
You are resolving this in the final watercolour study. Here you are achieving depth
while also allowing the medium to inform the results without overworking.
This is developed further with your ariel perspective piece of a similar scene. The
indian ink piece is beautiful and the watercolour has luminosity and the right amount of

I feel confident using both indian ink and watercolour, in addition to charcoal – there is a need to take this strength further and push myself to the limits using these mediums. I was pleased that my tutor recognised a continued improvement in my mark making and confident use of different media. 

Townscape studies
Quick sketches have energy. Final piece quite well executed though the central placing
of the sign lets composition down a little – though it’s shadow does work well. Placing it
further to one side might have created more effective balance while retaining sense of
Townscape using line
Again, an energetic use of mark making. Particularly like the square/tower block pencil
Charcoal and soft pencil study of moving figures is well executed with sense of
movement. There are inaccuracies – the arms of the figures don’t quiet look in
proportion but overall it still works because of the way you have suggested movement.

I enjoyed working on these pieces and was pleased with the comments made. I wish to take the movement of people in the towncentre further in Part 4.

Limited palette study
Good tonal range and some delicate linear detail. Becoming overworked in places –
lower section is a little heavy. Works better where you use the edge of the pastel and
break the line up a little. Preliminary collage pieces have potential but try allowing more
space/inactivity to inform the results. Looks a little dense in places but worth pursuing
as a process/technique.
Final piece
Of the two preliminary pieces – the second is the strongest, with greater tonal contrast
and a more effective use of media. The foreground of the first is a little too hazy and
lacking definition. Slightly overworked.
The final piece has potential in terms of process and technique – however, the different
elements are getting lost because of a lack of definition and contrast. I can understand
you were wanting to retain the fluidity the materials were providing – and the sense of
transparency but this could have been emphasised with more contrast. For instance,
had you made the road much darker, with shadows, this would have allowed the
vehicles to stand out more. Compositionally, it is well balanced and the perspective is
accurate. It would be good to see you try making another piece with these materials
but try to build up a little more tonal contrast to add more depth.

There was a great deal of experimenting/testing out included in the work leading up to the final piece – the comments made were fair and encourage me to take these techniques further.

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
Examples on blog suggest you work freely and quickly in your sketchbook. Watercolour
studies are strong. Remember to try and keep this fluidity own the more finished

I have now included a Sketchbook section to my blog and intend to use it to improve my use of sketchbooks and include them in my workflow.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Some improvement – good to see you looked at some of the artists I suggested and
your reflections are honest. Also good you are using the research more to inform your
own experiments. Resist adding to much biographical information and keep building on
the level of reflection.

I will include details and thoughts from my research in the learning log as a part of my workflow.

Suggested reading/viewing
Figure – Look at Jenny Saville who creates large, fleshy oil painting of the nude – she
also does interesting studies in pencil and charcoal. Egon Schiele made beautifully
angular and haunting images. Paula Rego’s pastel drawing are worth looking at for
their sinister narrative. A dark undercurrent can also be found in the work of Ana Maria
Pacheco and Chantal Joffe.

Paula Rego, Ana Maria Pacheco and Chantal Joffe are new artists I will check out and use in Part 4 

Pointers for the next assignment
Sketching the figure in motion with an energetic line will increase you confidence in
responding to the human form when you need to work on more careful studies.
Continue to develop your understanding of tone
Avoid overworking – allow areas of space to inform the results.
Make quick and slow drawings – keep looking

Reflection on Part 3

In general this part of the course was extremely long and is a stamina builder! I felt that at times the brief hindered a more creative approach (or was a reason to break the rules?).

In following the brief as closely as possible I was nevertheless able to appreciate different aspects of the landscape/cityscape genre.

I am a huge fan of the works of both Constable and Turner, but have also been enlightened by the works of George Shaw, John Virtue and Robert Birmelin. Corot and Courbet are also artists that I admire – their style is distinctive and their sketching exquisite.

I still have a lot to learn and practice but I hope that in this part of the course I have at least made a good start. I particularly liked drawing in the centre of the town and found some very unappealing views to use as my interesting subjects: abandoned fields/ buildings and crossroads. I like seeing movement and the addition of people in a busy street attracts me. I would like to explore this further in my studies during Part 4.

I have taken the opportunity whenever possible to experiment further with different media and surfaces upon which to draw.  During a recent trip to the USA I was able to stock up on materials not readily available in Chile.

During this part of the course I have also read several books on art – notably Margaret Davidsons Contemporary Drawing, Fortuna by William Kentridge and About Looking by John Berger in addition to watching copious art videos on YouTube.

My sketchbooks are fuller than before but I need to develop them further into being part of my workflow – not just pages to fill when I have time – I have found this difficult when following the ‘brief’.

Reflection based on assessment criteria:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

I need to sketch more outside and ‘on the go’ as it is something that I enjoy and it has helped me greatly during Part 3 – It is clear that reliance on photos is not a good practice and that you can miss a great deal by not sketching and taking notes on location. My sketches were varied and demonstrate a continued improvement in my visual skills. I demonstrated visual awareness in my sketchbook with different eye-level positions and perspective techniques. My reliance on line was also noticeable and I will continue to improve this aspect of my work. I have had the opportunity to obtain interesting materials and experiment with them during the exercises and final drawings – example: Duralar (similar to mylar) for dry media and Duralar film for wet media.

Quality of outcome:

Whilst I can present my ideas and work in a coherent manner – for example my  learning log (blog) – the log needs to be more regular and a part of my workflow identifying influences and thoughts, ideas and sketchbook pages.

During Part 3 I have identified weaknesses in my work and have tried to improve my approach or for instance look for a better more interesting composition. This has I hope been reflected in my final drawings.

Demonstration of creativity:

I have used personal preferencias and perhaps a personal voice in choosing certain locations/subject matter for my work during the exercises in Part 3.  I have a preference for more rapid expressive work than use of fine detail, although to date I have been able to demonstate a reasonable ability in both camps.

Context reflection:

I  have read a great deal during the last three months and studied many Youtube videos – William Kentridge, Kiki Smith, Gerhard Richter, Julie Mehrethu, John Virtue, George Shaw, Robert Birmelin among other contemporary artists. This is starting to feed into my work and I already have a growing library of ideas and thoughts for work in Part 4/5.

The charcoal work on paper/video/bookprint of William Kentridge has already influenced my work – see studies for Stadium/crossroad in Project 5 – also large cloud study on gessoed brown paper.

My study of Margaret Davidsons book has also been inspiring and a fountain of ideas both technical and creative – Example: Robert Birmelin and Agnes Martin.

Other influences and work to use as a reference in Part 4 include Guillermo Wiedemann’s Retrato fondo rojo (Portrait with red background) 1950 – Oil on Cardboard which I saw in Bogota and the coloured pencil drawings of nudes by Fernando Botero – for example Venus, 1932 Coloured pencil on paper.

Finally I am extremely interested in the stadium works of Julie Mehrethu and have linked her work to that of Gerhard Richter’s abstract drawings both of which have interesting representations of space – their use of varied mark making and line to create depth is incredible and may form the basis of my work for Part 5 – perhaps using interior spaces (malls and shopping areas) as a subject matter.



Assignment 3 – Outdoor scene

Assignment 3 – Outdoor scene

I chose a scene that I pass everyday after work on my way home.  The outdoor scene is one of the traffic light junction in front of the town’s local football stadium. A spot that I also chose for a previous exercise.

I tried various approaches from photos and also from quick pencil sketches made from those photos – one such sketch is featured above.

I made two initial wide angle style drawings using pastels and indian ink on a prepared surface of gessoed newspaper print on mixed media paper – the surface worked well for both sketches and I liked the effect of the print showing through:

_20171226_124921_20171226_135813 I tried drawing these images on a larger scale but they did not work for me – one drawing I made in pencil was ok but not in my opinion of sufficient substance to put forward as my final drawing:


I therefore took a step back and looked again at my sketches – and also my interest in John Virtue and Robert Birmelin.

I needed to move in closer and find a context for the drawing – I have been particularly attracted to cross roads and traffic lights for a while and also find intrusive the very large promotional signs – that much of the time are left blank! The movement also called for something extra and I immediately thought of the use of transparency and overlap – hence Robert Birmelin – that came from my studying of Margaret Davison’s book on Contemporary Drawing.

There was then an opportunity to put all this together – I picked the scene drawn in pencil in the featured image above as the starting point and used Indian Ink and fineliner pens/brushes on Duralar .004 Wet Media Film:


The scene incorporates many elements – transparency, angular perspective, line and wash, trees, stationary and moving objects.  I used the rule of thirds to help me in the composition.

In relating some of the issues raised in Margaret Davison’s book, I would comment as follows:

Relation between mark and surface – there exists an interesting interplay between the ink and the surface which differs in its behaviour when using different methods of mark making such as brush pen, fineliner and brush/ink wash. I was also able to scratch and rub the surface in places to include small highlights.

Space and composition – The space is roughly broken up into three sections, the white sky, the busy middle distance and the heavier darker foregound. As commented on before I used the rule of thirds as my compositional guide and included a detailed traffic light and heavily toned foreground, a bus and small cars in the middleground and vanishing point/blank sky as the backrgound.

Scale – Initially I tried to meet the brief outline of an A1/A2 size paper but it did not suit me nor this drawing.  The actual size is 35 x 25cm. With this size drawing there is a need for the viewer to look at the overall image and then inspect closer the detail such as the small cars to the left and the fading building vanishing away to the right.

Intentionality/Context – I achieved what I set out to achieve and opened the boundaries in my mark making and use of different media/support. Like watercolour there was an element of accident in the marks when dry which was experimented upon briefly before (see previous exercises).

The bus driving through the heavily painted part – seemingly triumphant – crossing in front of the signage – breaking their support posts perhaps and the blank signs saying nothing  – the scene is without people, nobody to read the blank signs.




Part 3 Expanse

Project 5 Townscapes

Research Point – John Virtue and Robert Birmelin

I am very interested in the work of John Virtue – especially his large London works. I particularly like the way he paints a sillouette of the scene and then using marks/textures and the light on the landscape to build up very complex layers of interest – his mark making is very much that of an action painter (Jackson) – dripping, rubbing, spraying – large and small gestures – and his influence of Turner and Constable, painters well represented in the National Gallery Collection. Virtue uses many sketches and works also from his memory of the scenes he paints – reiterating the importance of a sketchbook and sketching – in both tone and line:

john virtue sketch 3
John Virtue – London sketches
John Virtue sketch
John Virtue – London sketches

john_virtue painting

There was another link that interested me – that of his contact and interest in the work of Frank Auerbach who was taught by David Bomberg, an artist that painted scenes of Blitzed london after the war.

Photo of wartime London during the Blitz

I my own drawings below there is evidence of a fight between nature and man – and man’s imposition on the landscape both rural and urban. John Virtues images are more cruel and stark – stripped of what he calls the ‘White noise’ and absent of people – just himself against the landscape and elements.

Another artist of great interest to me is Robert Birmelin who uses the urban environment as his subject matter. I am interested in his use of overlap/transparency to depict not only perspective but movement and the passing of time.


In this example people pass by in the metro, the transparency recording different moments in time.  The eye line position strategically placed with the viewer looking across a stairway – in which the subjects are moving past at different heights both near and far adding an extra level of interest.

I intend to find a use for this approach in my urban landscapes and also in Part 4.

Exercise 1 Sketch of townscape drawings

I went out early in the morning to produce these drawings to make use of the shadows produced with the sun low in the sky. I found it difficult to find a comfortable place to sketch and many of the drawings I made were done standing. My favorite place was an abandoned petrol station which I sketched and photographed for future use.

The left hand sketches (not good photographs) were made standing using a 3B pencil within a 10cm square. The RH drawing was a quick sketch in the style of Frank Auerbach. Light was fairly strong and low from the RHS. There were some very clear tones of both white and black – as can be seen in this B&W photo taken from a slightly different angle:

DSC_0568 (2)

Before leaving the scene, I took many photos at different angles and distances to use later. It was also beginning to get very hot so I also decided to finish sketching for the day outside.

I also made  similar drawings of the side of a church in the same street:


I spent more time on these drawings sitting down on the opposite side of the street. At first there was hardly any traffic and the street was quiet and peaceful.  As I finished the drawings there were more people about and the traffic started to build up. This is an interesting building but difficult to find a good/safe viewpoint. I included a couple of figures to give a sense of scale to the drawing.

I decided to take the petrol station drawing further.  It intrigued me as this is a very busy street and very close is a very large workshop/school for the Copper Mining Industry – the principal industry and the biggest employer in the area. First thing in the morning it is peaceful and quiet and this pertrol station – deserted – is a strange sight among the hussle and bustle. The morning was warm, no breeze, clear blue sky, and ideal for this type of scene – deep shadows and very bright highlights. I wanted to experiment with mylar further and I liked the effect of pencil on mylar – so wanted to try graphite/coloured pencil.

This exercise was more about shapes and shadows etc so my line drawing with the central sign was ok but was only suitable if drawn tighter. I did however try out the effects on mylar:

Both drawings were to loose and drawn very quickly – also the coloured pencil ws muddied by the layers of graphite. In the RH drawing I used a graphite block to fill in rather than pencil and I liked the effect and depth of tone.

Final drawing:


In this drawing there is a feeling of abandonment, the expanse of sky also assists in the eerie feel – no ,ovement, no people, the only sign of life a car – also abandoned. I was not shy in my use of tone and have used a wide range from deep black to erased white. After finishing the drawing I saw that there may have been a better composition!


This crop does not have the same sense of space and abandonment but is a better stronger composition. I should think more about this type of opportunity in future.

Exercise 2 Study of townscape using line

In this exercise I found that I did not have much patience in detailed sketches of buildings. I found myself wanting to rush them except when people were involved – this excites me more – movement, the hustle and bustle of the high street. I took a break for a coffee and sketched in the cafe/mall – this interested me more than the churches outside.

Fineliner in black and red

This was a rather hurried sketch – there were problems with scale and perspective which may have led to my impatience in finishing this sketch. This the main church in the town and is placed in an historically famous square – famous for a battle defeat against the spanish just before the independence of Chile. I sketched in the morning on a warm day with strong directional sunlight – the square is difficult to sketch due to many trees placed around and infront of the buildings – which lends itself to cropped details only.

Brush pen and coloured pencil

This second sketch using a brush pen and coloured pencil would have been better worked on a larger sheet of paper with charcoal or ink washes.

I went for a coffee and sketched the cafe in an open mall which I enjoyed – there was great potential here and the opportunity to include people and movement:


Whilst sketching here I was reminded of the drawings and paintings by Robert Birmelin and his use of transparent overlapping images – For instance his Study – Steps Series, Yellow Shoe 2005. Black chalk, conté pencil, and acrylicwash on 90lb cold pressed Fabriano Classico:


I took several photos to use as reference including this panaramic shot – there is a temptation here to overcomplicate – but the Birmelin example shows that simplification is key in what is really a complex drawing:


After this coffee break, I went back to the square:

1.4mm grip pencil – 3B

This view also had potential for taking further and I liked the inclusion of people in the foreground, middleground buildings and tower block in the background.

Moving on to the main thoroughfare I enjoyed making rapid gestural sketches of the movement of people and a band playing.



Out of all of these sketches I wanted to take forward the main thoroughfare sketch – an opportunity to include people in an urban environment – I do like the movement of people in drawings/paintings:

_20171217_220159 (1)
Charcoal and soft pencil on 250g mixed media paper

The day was hot and the shadows harsh, the main thoroughfare was busy with people rushing about – I love making quick drawings in this type of environment.  I should have spent more time drawing, but took several photos that I montaged to get the feel of movement and perspective that I wanted in this final drawing.

Some of the marks I made were erratic and not as balanced as I would have liked – also maybe I should have stuck to just charcoal alone. The drawing was made on A2 but A1 would have suited me better – I did feel a little restricted. The shadows on the left under the tree were poorly made and should have been deeper, the trees were drawn in a manner not reflected in the rest of the image and on this occasion (using line) I felt uncomfortable trying to use just line without some form of tonal contrast.  I started the drawing by building up a level of tonal contrast smudging charcoal with my fingers before using line – next time I need to go for greater tonal contrast at this point.

Exercise 3 A limited palette study

Every day I pass the local football stadium in my car early in the morning and on my return from work – I had noted this as an interesting subject. Located in the same street as the abandoned petrol station it has alonside it around 5 very large publicity towers and there a more further up the street – something I that to me seems an invasion on the landscape – a bit like my early protest of the electricity pylons in a field. There is another interest for me in the drawing – on the bottom right – in the traffic light junction. An attraction possibly due to travelling a lot and having had a great deal of changes in my life – crossroads and paths taken (or chosen for me) – like a motif.

The limited palette study was drawn using a mixed media of charcoal and pastel on a heavy mixed media A2 sized paper prepared with a backgound of blue/ochre gouache.

I have started to use my sketchbook more and during the week had taken some photos of the stadium from my car. I made fast sketches of these photos using a 9B pencil whilst thinking of the John Virtue London paintings:

I then went out early in the morning and made two more sketches in my sketchbook – on pages previously prepared with newspaper collage:


DSC_0923 1

I decided to take these sketches further to use as the subject of my Limited Palette Study:


The drawing was completed using blue and ochre pastel with black charcoal, but because I had used a blue/ochre gouche background – I had to include the use of white pastel for highlights.

As a study to create depth using a limited palette – I had given myself too bigger a challenge and did not consider this enough in the choice of subject and the construction of the composition. There were some very complicated angles/curves and I did not consider the lines/angles of perspective as in earlier drawings.

It is possible to use a limited palette to create depth and in hindsight I could have toned down the LHS stadium stand – drawn in dark charcoal – perhaps this could have been a darker blue but without so much detail. Being early in the morning – there was no traffic and nobody in the street – giving the scene an abandoned feeling!

Exercise 4 Statues

During my trip to Bogota, Colombia I was able to sketch some statues – one was the main subject of a quick pen and watercolour sketch I made of Parque Santander:

DSC_0931 I then found a lovely garden square in front of some old buildings – just off of Plaza Bolivar – a statue of Rufino Jose Cuervo. I made two pen and watercolour sketches from different angles: